The fire that swept through part of Savory elementary has left school supplies layered in soot and off limits to kids, but the community has stepped up to replace what was lost.
Langford Fire Rescue has ordered the school district not to allow children to use any personal school supplies left in desks or lockers, said Jim Cambridge, SD 62 superintendent.
“Even though some items looked like they could be wiped down, like pencils, books and paper, unless they are professionally cleaned we can’t use them,” Cambridge said.
When word came in that the 155 students would need brand new supplies, Monk Office Supply decided to help out. On Monday afternoon a Monk truck arrived at the Sooke School District office with dozens of boxes of supplies for each student in the school – pens, pencils, crayons, books, rulers, binders, paper and more. The donation is worth about $5,500.
“This is absolutely fantastic. (we are grateful to) all the people have helped and donated school supplies,” Cambridge said.
“Monks has outfitted every student in the school with enough school supplies for the year,” added Savory principal Klaus Benker. He expected parents would have to buy supplies just a few weeks after stocking up for the new school year.
“It’s quite overwhelming and it’s astounding at how people want to help in this situation,” Benker said. “It’s been so stressful for the the children and their parents.”
The Sept. 11 fire destroyed the administrative offices of the school. Two Langford teenagers have been arrested and charged with arson. The cleanup is expected to take a few more weeks.
James Mckenzie, president of Monk Office Supply said that saving a few pens and pencils is not worth the risk of kids ingesting toxic soot.
“With the little ones, every pencil goes in their mouths,” Mckenzie said. “It was just a shame especially at the beginning of the school year when the kids come to school with all their supplies.”
All items in the school, except school supplies purchased by parents, will be professionally cleaned before children go back to classrooms at Savory. Kids’ personal school supplies are not cleaned because they are not insured by the district, Cambridge said.
Other local businesses and groups have offered the small elementary school a helping hand as well. Staples donated $1,500 in gift cards and is offering a 15 per cent discount for all Savory students and teachers.
Grand & Toy donated school bags and backpacks. George Jay and Willway elementary schools offered up donations, as well as many individual donors.